Author Topic: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album  (Read 794 times)

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Online HOF

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2020, 01:37:57 PM »
Itís a small thing, but I wonder if the band would have preferred to sequence Closer to the Heart directly after A Farewell to Kings (following the lyric ďCan't we find the minds/To lead us closer to the heart?) if not for the limitations of vinyl? It definitely seems that CTTH is an answer lyrically to the title track.

I always wondered about that -- not so much the album sequence but the fact that the last words of the title track are the name of another song on the album.

As far as the song order, putting CTTH on side 1 actually would have made the two sides more balanced.  CTTH is 2:54.  The title track plus Xanadu are 16:56 seconds, so there was more than enough room to put CTTH between the title track and Xanadu.  That would have had side one be 19:50 and left side 2 with Cinderella, Madrigal and The Voyage, which total 17:20.

Huh. I didnít work out the math but I just assumed that would have made side 1 too long. I can see why they wanted to open side 2 with CTTH though, and maybe opening each side with those respective songs does make CTTH an answer of sorts to AFTK thatís just lost on the CD format.

At any rate, the three song run of AFTK, Xanadu, and Closer to the Heart is probably as strong a three song sequence as anything the band did until that point.

Listening to Cinderella Man right now, and I think I mostly donít like the softer chorus (rhyming man, can, understand - really?).

Offline pg1067

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2020, 01:48:22 PM »
Itís a small thing, but I wonder if the band would have preferred to sequence Closer to the Heart directly after A Farewell to Kings (following the lyric ďCan't we find the minds/To lead us closer to the heart?) if not for the limitations of vinyl? It definitely seems that CTTH is an answer lyrically to the title track.

I always wondered about that -- not so much the album sequence but the fact that the last words of the title track are the name of another song on the album.

As far as the song order, putting CTTH on side 1 actually would have made the two sides more balanced.  CTTH is 2:54.  The title track plus Xanadu are 16:56 seconds, so there was more than enough room to put CTTH between the title track and Xanadu.  That would have had side one be 19:50 and left side 2 with Cinderella, Madrigal and The Voyage, which total 17:20.

Huh. I didnít work out the math but I just assumed that would have made side 1 too long. I can see why they wanted to open side 2 with CTTH though, and maybe opening each side with those respective songs does make CTTH an answer of sorts to AFTK thatís just lost on the CD format.

Google to the rescue.

From the AFTK tour book (which can be read here: http://www.2112.net/powerwindows/afarewelltokings.html#tourbook ):  "Side two opens with a simple and straightforward track called 'Closer to the Heart.'  Lyrically speaking, if 'A Farewell to Kings' looks at the problems, then this one looks at the solution.  It is based on a verse by a friend of ours from Seattle, and it has much to say to those who hear."

Seems pretty clear that you were right about it being sort of a call and response thing (logically, it couldn't have been an accident).
"There's a bass solo in a song called Metropolis where I do a bass solo."  John Myung

Online HOF

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2020, 02:04:27 PM »
Well there you go. Suppose I could have looked that up myself!

Offline pg1067

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2020, 04:26:31 PM »
I'm honestly sure why it never occurred to me to google it before.  And, while I own a copy of the AFTK tour book, I doubt I've looked at it -- and certain haven't read it -- in 25+ years.
"There's a bass solo in a song called Metropolis where I do a bass solo."  John Myung

Offline npiazza91

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2020, 11:25:34 PM »
Just got done listening to Hemispheres and...I think this is their magnum opus. Now...donít jump for joy just yet. I really liked this album, I think itís definitely better than their last two, but even though I think itís far and away their best written album yet, I donít think itís my personal favorite. Letís get into each song.

Cygnus X-1 Book 2...is awesome. For being 18 minutes, itís paced very well. I do wish it went back to that original riff near the end, that ďdeh neh nenenene neh nehĒ, thatís one awesome riff, I really loved that. And the softer sections were fantastic as well. Maybe itís just me, but I felt a little bit of WDADU in this song (and on the album as a whole), it gave me WDADU vibes a little bit. Pretty cool. While I do think the second half is weaker than the first half, I think this is the best long song since The Necromancer for me. One small nitpick, but why they still keep fading to black in the middle of their epics? Itís so frustrating to me because it kills the pacing.

Circumstances might be my favorite short song by them so far (itís not better than Working Man, but that song is 7+ minutes so itís not really short). This is an awesome song, I really loved this one. And the bass and the drums were going out of their damn minds on this song.

The Trees! This was a song on one of the Rock Band games, I completely forgot about it. Yeah this is a great song, love the vibe.

Then we have La Villa Strangiato. This...was a journey, man. Iíll be the first to admit that Iím not the biggest instrumental fan of theyíre like longer than 6 minutes. My mind starts to wander. But for being a 9+ minute instrumental, it did a good job at holding my attention. This was a jam session. They already proved themselves on the rest of the album. This is their celebration song, their way of saying ďweíve proved to you what we can do, so now weíre gonna have funĒ. As far as Iím concerned, Rush is now fully formed. This IS their sound. They have nothing more to prove. Whatever happens after this album is going to be where they wanna go with that sound they have created. Artistically, this feels like their peak. If they go higher than this, Iíll be floored. Now, of course Iíll LIKE albums more than this, Iím not saying this is their most ENJOYABLE album to me. But artistically, this is nuts. If you have this as your #1, I wonít be the least bit shocked. This is a great album.

However...itís not my favorite so far. Itís still Fly By Night. That album is safer, and more fun, and as a new Rush fan who is digging into them for the first time, FBN still feels like the one Iím gonna go back to the most. Again, first impressions. Who knows, FBN could go down as time goes on. Itís so hard to rank prog albums after one listen.

Iím honestly also tempted to put Caress of Steel over Hemispheres as well, because of Bastille Day, Lakeside Park and the Necromancer, but...I canít. FOL just REALLY hurts that album to me. Itís such a long song, about half the album, and it doesnít work for me. Hemispheres really is a great album. They really do have their energy back now. So this is my updated ranking.

1. Fly By Night
2. Hemispheres
3. Caress of Steel
4. A Farewell to Kings
5. Rush
6. 2112

Offline jammindude

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2020, 11:41:38 PM »
The soft spot is pure story telling. Heís a disembodied spirit passing through a transition. And it sets up the climax perfectly. It doesnít kill the song, it builds anticipation for the climactic finish.

Itís literally Rushís gift to the world.
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Online HOF

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2020, 11:50:54 PM »
I do agree this is where Rush peaked in terms of being an all out progressive act. Itís the culmination of what went before it, and while I donít think it is their best album, it has a sense of being their masterpiece about it.

That said, I donít totally connect with La Villa Strangiato (I do like it though), and Circumstances just kind of is what it is, not bad but nothing special. So this one for me is mostly carried by Hemispheres and The Trees.

They definitely pushed their playing ability to the brink on this one (especially on La Villa Strangiato which they tried very hard to record in one take but ultimately couldnít pull off). I think this kind of got a lot of the fantasy/sci-fi prog out of their system, and they were able to move forward with more of a real world approach to songwriting and a more focused approach to song structure.   

I think youíll enjoy the next step they take with Permanent Waves. To me that is the start of Rush as a mature band, finally hitting their stride after six years of fighting to survive while experimenting and pushing boundaries.

Offline Polarbear

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2020, 12:26:52 AM »
Wish I could get into Rush for the first time again! :metal

I don't really agree with your ranking, but I'm glad you are enjoying the discography for now! Rush is about to go through some big changes in the following years from Permanent Waves onward. It will be interesting to get your take on it.

Nowadays I find myself listening mostly Rush from Permanent Waves onward. I usually just pop in Power Windows if I'm in the mood for some Rush.

Offline npiazza91

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2020, 01:24:57 AM »
I just wanna say before I go forward in this marathon, that while I am enjoying this band (if I didnít enjoy it I just wouldnít continue), the band is great, BUT...itís severely lacking in emotion for me. Itís not a deal breaker, but it keeps them from being a band that Iím falling in love with. Because no matter how great the songs get...Iím never gonna hear anything like Octavarium, Finally Free, About to Crash, Surrounded, Voices, heck even simpler stuff like Anna Lee. All songs that bring the emotion so much and is exactly why DT is one of my favorite bands of all time. I love the prog stuff donít get me wrong, but for me, prog has to have emotion for it to be top tier prog. Rush has been as perfect as you can get without the emotion...but the lack of a piano has made it feel very flat to me when it comes to that aspect. The emotional aspect of prog is a big draw for me. Even a band like Symphony X, they really bring the feels when they want to (When All is Lost is an absolutely amazing song, go listen to it). Even a band like King Crimson, songs such as I Talk to the Wind or the title track from that album...amazing, because the emotions just run through you. If youíre listening to a 10+ minute song, you just know theyíre gonna put you on an emotional journey. The way you can create feelings with music is unbelievable. Rush seems very focused on the technical aspect, to the point where it starts to lose me a bit because I donít FEEL it. As much as Iím enjoying this marathon, and as much as this band is extremely talented and just wow me with their technicality, I donít think Rush can be a top tier band for me specifically for this reason. And I feel like the deeper I go into this marathon, the more Iím gonna keep missing the piano and stuff.

Voices alone is better than anything Iíve heard from Rush in my entire life. The thing is, when you create such atmosphere and emotion with your music, then all the stuff it does, the solos, the transitions, everything, it all courses through you, and thatís the kind of feeling that makes DT one of my favorite bands. It puts me on a ride that Rush canít really do for me. But hey, weíll see, we still have like 13 albums to go. But this is why songs like Rivendell and Lakeside Park really stuck out to me. They brought the emotions.

Offline Polarbear

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #44 on: May 23, 2020, 01:42:45 AM »
Just wait till you hear songs like: Losing It, Red Sector A, Middletown Dreams, The Pass or Bravado. ;)

Those songs aren't lacking in emotion in any way. :tup

Offline DTA

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #45 on: May 23, 2020, 06:52:46 AM »
I wouldn't say their 70's stuff is emotionless, but there's an element of "logic" to the music and lyrics that lessens any emotional impact it may have for me. I would say that once Moving Pictures comes, the lyrics get a little more personal/human and the music follows. 

Online HOF

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #46 on: May 23, 2020, 08:32:42 AM »
Just wait till you hear songs like: Losing It, Red Sector A, Middletown Dreams, The Pass or Bravado. ;)

Those songs aren't lacking in emotion in any way. :tup

Yep. Available Light is probably their most emotive song IMO, but also songs like Marathon, Mission, Nobodyís Hero, Everyday Glory, Resist. Oh, and Emption Detector. ;-)

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #47 on: May 23, 2020, 11:38:02 AM »
Just wait till you hear songs like: Losing It, Red Sector A, Middletown Dreams, The Pass or Bravado. ;)

Those songs aren't lacking in emotion in any way. :tup

Yep. Available Light is probably their most emotive song IMO, but also songs like Marathon, Mission, Nobodyís Hero, Everyday Glory, Resist. Oh, and Emption Detector. ;-)
Also, Time Stand Still, The Wreckers,  Entre Nous, The Garden.. To name a few.
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Offline Lethean

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #48 on: May 23, 2020, 11:53:28 AM »
Personally, I think Hemispheres, the title track, to be full of emotion. Maybe I'm weird, but there it is.  There's a lot of emotion in Rush for me, and if there wasn't I supposed I wouldn't connect with them like I do.  2112, Xanadu, Lamneth - all have emotion or evoke it in me.  And those are just the long ones.

But for your tastes, OP, maybe you'll connect more with later stuff.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #49 on: May 23, 2020, 06:03:46 PM »
The piano comment is really good. I never thought about it but yeah, I would've loved to hear some piano in Rush's music.

I went through their entire discography for the first time a few years ago and it really blew my mind what an incredible band they were. I love most of their records, there's very little I don't like, and Power Windows and Hemispheres have become two of my all time favorite albums. Even picked up a bunch of DVD concerts and Peart's Ghost Rider book. Enjoy the ride, dude. Phenomenal music from start to finish.

You might enjoy The Piano Tribute To Rush (one of those Todd Mark Rubenstein Vitamin Records productions).  It's not one of my Rush Tribute records , but it's not bad.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #50 on: May 23, 2020, 06:07:18 PM »
Lamneth is an oddball...the drum solo really throws it off and the lack of continuity between sections makes it feel less like an epic and more like a collection of separate songs. I can't imagine what the hell they were thinking with Didacts and Narpets. The Necromancer is a standout and has a really cool vibe throughout, I've grown to appreciate it more recently and it may be my favorite longer song of theirs.

That's how they wanted to write it. More like The Who where you have a collection of songs that can be listened to individually with songs that could stand alone or as part of the bigger thing.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #51 on: May 23, 2020, 06:09:40 PM »
Sam, you were at the opening show of the Vapor Trails tour?  So was I!  A magical show.  I thought they would never play again.

What he said!  Might be my favorite Rush show ever.

Offline ytserush

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #52 on: May 23, 2020, 06:13:33 PM »
Sam, you were at the opening show of the Vapor Trails tour?  So was I!  A magical show.  I thought they would never play again.

I was! I didn't realize the gravity of the show at the time. I had gotten into Rush a little bit with Test for Echo. I bought it, liked it, but passed on seeing them at Jones Beach on that tour (stupidly). Then when they got back together and did Vapor Trails, I bought that immediately and really liked it, and a few friends were going and said I HAD to go, so I did. I had a good time, but not having been at a Rush show before, I didn't know what to expect. I'll be honest -- they were good, but I still wasn't INTO the band at the time, if you know what I mean.


Was 5th row at Jones Beach as well. Nice breeze coming in from the water that night. Only time I was ever there.



Online kingshmegland

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #53 on: May 23, 2020, 06:14:22 PM »
Sam, you were at the opening show of the Vapor Trails tour?  So was I!  A magical show.  I thought they would never play again.

What he said!  Might be my favorite Rush show ever.

The anticipation,  the feeling of welcoming Neil back.  I was walking on air.
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Offline npiazza91

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #54 on: May 23, 2020, 10:55:24 PM »
Ok I listened to Permanent Waves and...this is my favorite album so far. Fly By Night gives it a fight though, this isnít a blowout, but I really enjoyed this album a lot.

Spirit of Radio has always been not only one of my favorite Rush songs, but one of my favorite CLASSIC ROCK songs of all time. I love it so much. And it has one of my favorite bridges in all of music, the ďof salesmanĒ part. That whole minute before the solo is one of my favorite sections ever for me. To me, thatís everything I want this band to be. Itís hard to explain what I love about it so much, but I just love it.

Freewill is another great song by them, and I think itís an underrated hit. It feels like the least well known of all their hits.

Jacobs Ladder was the weak point for me. It was kinda weird, maybe I need to hear it again a few more times. But it didnít catch me.

The rest of the album was great too. Different Strings brought the emotions as well, great stuff. Natural Science has a great breezy vibe to it, and even though parts were kinda corny, I still really enjoyed the song. Honestly no complaints other than Jacobs Ladder. And this album...actually brought some emotion for me. I LOVE the synths they theyíve started using. It adds another layer to their music that I feel like was lacking. They have a more ďfullerĒ sound now, and I like it a lot. I think their 80s stuff is gonna be more my style.

Just gonna day it right now, Moving Pictures is gonna be #1, probably of their entire discography. Iíve owned this album since i was a kid, I also bought the entire album on Rock Band so I can drum to it, and I love pretty much the whole album. Itís a lot of nostalgia to me, so it is kinda biased, but itís been a while since Ive listened to it, so itís gonna be quite the ride. Iím excited.

Online HOF

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #55 on: May 23, 2020, 11:31:02 PM »
I had a feeling this one would connect with you. I agree with pretty much everything you said. Spirit of Radio and Freewill are two of the great classic rock tunes (though still plenty proggy, just in a smaller package). Spirit of Radio in fact will probably always feel like the quintessential Rush song for me. Itís one of the first Rush songs I remember hearing, and itís also the first song that introduced the concept of ďprogressiveĒ rock to me actually. I remember asking my older brother why the song kept changing, and he was like, ďbecause itís progressive rock.Ē I didnít get it at first, but eventually it clicked.

I also agree that Jacobís Ladder is the weak spot on the album. Itís a weird song without a lot of melody, although the subject matter is kind of cool. Everything else is great though. I really like Entres Nous and Different Strings, and then Natural Science is the more traditionally progressive Rush track, but a really good one.

I actually prefer Permanent Waves to Moving Pictures. Itís a definite turning point in the bandís career though, and they are kind of firing on all cylinders at this point in their career. Buckle up!

Offline jammindude

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #56 on: May 23, 2020, 11:37:11 PM »
Re: Jacobís Ladder

Just stab me through the heart.

If I had to choose a single song in the history of rock music where I could guess what the song was written about if you stripped all the lyrics away than Jacobís Ladder.

Nothing in the world conveys the feeling and literally the ďelectricityĒ of a thunder storm than that song.
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Online HOF

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #57 on: May 23, 2020, 11:50:39 PM »
Re: Jacobís Ladder

Just stab me through the heart.

If I had to choose a single song in the history of rock music where I could guess what the song was written about if you stripped all the lyrics away than Jacobís Ladder.

Nothing in the world conveys the feeling and literally the ďelectricityĒ of a thunder storm than that song.

I get what they were going for, and I agree that concept is pretty cool. Iíd even agree they did a good job conveying that concept. The end product is just not something I particularly enjoy listening to.

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #58 on: May 24, 2020, 10:59:35 AM »
It was quite mesmerising when they played Jacob's ladder in 2015 at the Seattle show. They played it to perfection with amazing multicolored lasers. One of the highlights of the R40 concert.
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Offline DragonAttack

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #59 on: May 24, 2020, 11:34:43 AM »
Now that the journey has reached 'Permanent Waves', take an hour or so and listen to my first 'bootleg', St. Louis February 1980, telecast on the old 'King Biscuit Flour Hour'. Some of us just walked into the arena and caught some of the soundcheck when they played at Central Michigan the prior August. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1Sv0j5F0Qs&t=1144s  or

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqIsfBwn8t0&t=163s .  Use the first link for '2112', and then the latter for the rest (so that there are no silences or interruptions in the medley)

'2112' is intentionally 'snipped' by the band, and works really well.  Enjoy.
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Offline ytserush

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Re: Getting into Rush for the first time, going album by album
« Reply #60 on: May 25, 2020, 04:25:58 PM »
It was quite mesmerising when they played Jacob's ladder in 2015 at the Seattle show. They played it to perfection with amazing multicolored lasers. One of the highlights of the R40 concert.

The light show for this song in 2015 was among the best in the set.